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News: From the GCA Collection at the Archives of American Gardens

 

August 08, 2018

A Honey of an Idea: Bee Skeps

Cultures throughout history have treasured honey and with the advent of the bee skep it became possible to harvest honey instead of hunt for it. The word ‘skep’ is thought to originate from the old Norse word skeppe meaning a basket or hamper. In medieval times, bees were often housed in skeps that resembled overturned baskets, hence their name.

A skep is frequently used as a symbol of productivity, a nod to their busy occupants. Utah’s State Seal features a skep in the center as a symbol of hard work and industry.

Today, most beekeepers utilize moveable frame hives to keep their bees, however gardeners with smaller gardens may use a traditional skep due to size limitations and aesthetic qualities.

A number of states have beekeeping ordinances, so one size definitely doesn’t fit all.

Images from the Garden Club of America Collection at the Archives of American Gardens.
By Jessica Brode, AAG/GCA Garden History and Design Intern. March 2015.

 

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